I love pesto.
Pesto, for me, brings back memories of my junior year in Italy. Of friends and laughs and love and long, lingering dinners where we’d hang our legs over the Arno bridge at sunset and dream of the future.
Pesto is divine.
I don’t often make pesto in the wintertime since basil (the base for traditional italian pesto) isn’t growing like a weed in my garden. So, the other day when a sweet friend told me about making pesto with kale instead of basil, I knew I had to try it… and then: I fell in love.
Here we go:
- Food processor with the blade attachment
- microplane (or other fine cheese grater)
- 1 bunch of organic kale (remember: kale is one of the ‘dirty dozen‘, so always buy organic)
- 1 handful organic arugula
- 1/2 cup parmigiano regianno
- 1/4 cup of raw walnuts
- 3 garlic cloves (peeled)
- olive oil
- 1 lemon (for zest and juice)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
Chop off and discard the bottom two inches of your kale bunch, and then rough chop the rest.
Place half of the chopped kale into the food processor and chop until fine, like this:
Add in the arugula, walnuts, whole garlic cloves, and parmesan (and yes, it’s okay if there are some larger hunks of the cheese):
Re-cover and chop and chop for approximately 8-10 seconds.
Next, add in the zest of the lemon (approximately 1 tsp), juice from 1/2 of the lemon, salt, and pepper.
Re-cover, and then, with processor ‘on’, slowly drizzle in your olive oil until mixture is smooth and ‘pasty’. And, when you’re all done, it should look like this:
Now, what do you do with it you ask? I say: what don’t you do with it!
Pesto isn’t just for pasta, even though I think that’s what most people think of when they hear ‘pesto’. To the contrary: think of pesto like a condiment – something to add a punch of flavor to just about anything. (It’s like a cousin to Argentinian chimicurri.)
You can toss potatoes in it or vegetables in it, like I did with these leftover brussels sprouts from last night’s dinner:
You can toss quinoa in it (which I LOVE to do) and use it as a bed for a perfectly fried egg:
You can use it as a dip for raw veggies, like I did for my cherry tomatoes today:
You can slather it on a piece of toasted, rustic bread with a little turkey and brie…
You can add it to soup, or meatballs, or use it as a spread for grilled steak or a hamburger…
You can even mix it with a really yummy yogurt to make a perfect yogurt dipping sauce like this:
(For the yogurt dipping sauce, use 1 part kale pesto and 1 part yogurt and mix until incorporated. The Straus yogurt is hands down my favorite yogurt to use for this type of mixture because the texture is looser than most, and also because Straus uses real sweet cream buttermilk, which gives a delicious tang to the dip.)
The key is this: just make it. Once you taste it, I promise you’ll invent ways to creatively get it into your mouth.
Be forewarned, though… pesto brings on some serious garlic breath; it’s simply the price we have to pay for the amazing flavor pesto brings. But, no worries! Thanks to visual.ly, you’ll see what garlic is great for our health – but also how to kill the impending garlic breath 🙂
And, there you have it! You can do it kale pesto.
Thanks for being here – and I hope you’re leaving inspired.